And this was another season where I ended up watching a lot of current series. I was out a week and a half on vacation, and then Smudge came down ill around Christmas, so I’m running a bit late on seeing the end of most shows. Nothing truly outstanding this time, though there’s a lot of good ones. As usual, this in rough order of my preference, though the bulk of it is really close together for me this time.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride — This is the big one getting a big budget, and all the push this season, and deservedly so. I’d have to say that I like the prequel OAVs better than the series, but I’m still enjoying this quite a lot.

Last Man — This has continued to be good, and really well written. The rabbit hole is still going down, and I’ve been wondering just how long this complicated prequel can go, though it’s showing signs of going for an ending.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie — It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it. The members of a MMO guild are all relatively close to each other in real life but don’t realize it (which is a lot easier in Japan than in the US…). It’s a romance between the main pair, and not only did well with the MMO side, but had a good story. Also, my favorite opening of the season.

Voltron: Legendary Defender — And fourth season was short again. I’m certain they’re doing just enough episodes to get to another point where you yell ‘noooo!’ at the fact that you’ve hit the end.

Garo: Vanishing Line — This is the lastest in a series of stories all set in the same world; Smudge has seen a couple of earlier Garo series, but this is my first one. And it’s surprisingly good. The world’s a bit odd, as you have what’s obviously a successful American city as the start point, and then you go off into a mid-west and Rockies that have been abandoned to the Horrors, so it’s not actually Earth, despite a lot of US signage….

Food Wars — The season started out with a standard story, with a big public fair/contest, but then went off the rails with a hostile management takeover, which surprisingly is tying directly into the backgrounds and attitudes of some of the secondary characters. It’s been a very effective changeup.

Pokemon Sun and Moon — Continuing to be a good series. I sometimes wonder if the new style for the show is just so they can do some Tex Avery takes.

Blend S — Okay, a show about a fetish cafe shouldn’t really be my thing… but it’s hilarious. It helps that all the characters are characters away from their ‘on the job’ personas, and the chemistry between them is surprisingly good.

Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World — With how great of a show the original series was, this was promising for a top spot in the season. However, a decent number of stories were re-cycled from the original (admittedly, it’s been so long, I only recognized one of them, but Smudge noted others), making me wonder just what’s going on. Smudge was also unhappy with Kino’s design here compared to the original, and I think I agree, though not as ardently. At any rate, it never seemed to really recapture the surreal feeling of the original for me, which it really needs to to make a world full of isolated ‘countries’ work.

Two Car — Girl’s sports anime. I didn’t really expect a lot out of it… but it was actually solidly written, and had a good overall arc as well as solid individual episodes. Probably the best ‘overlooked’ anime of the season.

Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond — Four-word title lotto bonus! This was a good follow-up to the original series, and maintained all the crazyness of it, while, I think, having better stories. I certainly hope that we get another season of this; though I hope they don’t feel a need to add another ‘B’ each time.

Konohana Kitan — Okay, this is cute, and fluffy, and awesomely cute. An inn between the worlds with kitsune staff. Really charming, but not necessarily very deep, so I have a hard time truly recommending it, even though I do.

Infini-T Force — Tatsunoko does a crossover fanfic of several of their properties. Somewhat surprising is the decision to do it in CG, and I felt the animation was a bit weak in places, but it held up pretty well, especially for a TV budget. The story itself was pretty good, and and Smudge especially enjoyed it, possibly because she knows the properties better than I do (I’m aware of two of the four used, but have never seen them). The last couple minutes sets up for the movie sequel, which hopefully I’ll get a chance to see too.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life —The current season of this has been interesting, with a fair amount of focus on Inaba finding his place in the world, and a decent amount of moralizing on the various ills of today’s youth.

Black Clover — The real big shonen push of the season was extremely underwhelming, and I was more than ready to drop it after a couple episodes. However, I did end up sticking with it, and the writing has gotten a lot better. Yelling as a substitute for characterization is wearing, but as long as it doesn’t draw out plotlines (ha!) it’s good.

Code: Realize — League of Extraordinary Bishies. The general ideas here were good, but poorly handled. Poorly-done steampunk (just stick a random gear on it!), with period literary characters… that are way off concept. If it was done on purpose, it doesn’t show, and just looks like the creator stuck known names on characters ‘because’, since nothing matches but the general role, and everything else is wildly off.

Sengoku Night Blood — Okay… alternate world that name-drops all sorts of Warring States people, but they’re pretty-boy vampires and werewolves. And a modern-day girl gets dropped into this. The plot is all over the place, and while there’s hints of an overall situation behind the scenes, what’s presented is fairly directionless.

I managed to find time to see a couple of older things this season:

Girls und Panzer: The Real Anzio Battle! — The ‘missing episode’ of the series, it actually features the series opening and closing. I have some problems with the main fight as several tanks probably really should have thrown tracks. But it was well done, and there’s some good bridging with the surrounding episodes in the series as well as a good overall story.

Girls und Panzer der Film — Finally got to see the (first!) Girls und Panzer movie recently. Definitely meant for the fans, as they don’t give a lot of re-introduction to Sensha-do, but the setup is fairly solid. The school isn’t as saved as it seemed from the series, and gets closed down, with the solution being more tanks! Or at least a Tankery fight against impossible odds, with even wilder vehicles than the Maus, a 1941 reference… needless to say, it’s packed, and probably could have used a few more minutes even when you know what’s going on.

Patema Inverted — Okay, playing around with the camera angles to drive home the opposite gravity problems felt heavy-handed at first, but does work, and I came out of the movie with a couple, ‘no you’ll fall!’ moments. As with a lot of movies with a bit of gimmick, there was an extra layer of twists, and I managed to spot a couple of them a bit before the big reveal. Solid writing, and I’d like to see more. Recommended.

Tokyo Godfathers — Smudge has been wanting the rest of us to see this as a Christmas movie, and managed to round us all up this year. Another really solid movie, that manages to present a sympathetic, but not romanticized, look at homeless people in Tokyo.

Fairy Tail — VRV doesn’t have the ‘hole’ in the series that is a problem with the Funimation streaming service, so I finally saw the rest of this. Tartaros Chapter was in many ways about what I expected… too big, too drawn out, and too ‘the stakes must be higher!’ to be a really good story. Not bad, but overwrought. Fairy Tale Zero was a good prequel story that I enjoyed a lot more.